'It is very concerning,' local health districts urging travelers to take precautions this Labor Day weekend

Posted at 5:29 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 18:36:58-04

Over 130 million Americans will be taking advantage of the three-day weekend, as COVID-19 cases surge across the country.

A warning coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are unvaccinated, they are recommending you do not travel. This Labor Day weekend is concerning for local health districts, like the Waco/McLennan County Public Health District, who've had record-breaking case counts this week.

"We don't have a curve; we just have a straight incline up of the number of cases that we were seeing," Kelly Craine with the Waco/McLennan County Public Health District said. "It's just the increase just keeps coming. We keep seeing people getting infected."

It's a trend Craine said is all too familiar.

"We saw this last year, it was right after Halloween that we began our intense surge that lasted November, December in January," said Craine. "I'm not good at predicting what COVID is going to do. It's always very sneaky but yes, we've seen this trend before, where cases start to increase, we have holiday gatherings and then it really just explodes."

However, that doesn't make it any less worrisome. The weeks leading up to this year's Labor Day weekends are a little different than last. Case counts are off the charts, and ICUs are nearing capacity in a handful of southern states, Texas included.

"It is very concerning," Craine said. "Anytime you have large gatherings, even small gatherings, it becomes a really a potential risk to become for you to become infected with COVID."

With more than half of Americans planning to travel for Labor Day weekend, Nicki Morrow, with the Bell County Public Health District said there are somethings you can do to stay safe.

"Outside is a safer choice to reduce your risk of COVID-19 and your exposure to COVID-19," Morrow said. "Wear a mask if they're going to be going on any type of public transportation. And also in any type of indoor public areas."

Ultimately Craine and Morrow agree, your best line of defense is one of the three vaccines.

Morrow said, "We would recommend that if you have not been started the process of being vaccinated, that our community continue to go out and get their vaccinations."

If you're still hesitant or have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, Craine suggests you reach out to your health district or your doctor.

"It's important that we recognize that vaccines are the best way to stop COVID-19," said Craine. "COVID-19 is a preventable disease."